Son charged with murder of former radio presenter

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THE son of former BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Howard Winton Cooper was remanded in custody this week accused of his murder.

Joseph Cooper, aged 23, appeared at Weymouth Magistrates Court on Monday, after his father’s body was found in a house in the village of Marnhull, near Sturminster Newton, Dorset, on Friday evening. He was due to appear at Winchester Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday).

Both men lived at the same address in Marnhull and neighbours said they were well known.

Pub landlord Gino Gibbs said: “The whole village is in deep shock. It’s all anyone is talking about.”

The presenter, who left BBC Radio Sheffield about 15 years ago, was known professionally as Winton Cooper.

He has two other sons, Oliver and Edward.

Tim Smith, acting head of BBC Yorkshire, said they were “shocked and saddened” by the death.

“Winton worked for the station for many years up to the 1990s and on many different programme, from Breakfast to Drive.

“He made a huge contribution to the station and will be remembered and missed by many of our listeners.”

Robert Jackson, sports producer at Radio Sheffield, who recruited Winton Cooper as Sheffield Wednesday reporter, said: “I had the highest regard for him as a working journalist who had great presence on air.”

Winton was covering the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final tie in April 1989 when the horrors of the Hillsborough disaster unfolded.

Former colleague Dinah Maiden said: “We worked together quite a lot in the 1970s and ’80s, most closely when we were doing the breakfast show.

“We always got on very well. He was great fun. It was a nice happy family then, there was a very nice atmosphere.

“I don’t know what he’s been doing these last few years, he sort of disappeared from the local scene.”

She described Winton as a “laddish, outgoing type”, adding: “He had what you need to be a reporter – a lot of nerve and a hard face. He was very good at digging.

“I didn’t know that much about his private life. It’s always sad to hear of people you’ve worked with dying, but especially in these circumstances. The news came out of the blue.”

One online tribute read: “I used to listen to Cooper a lot in the days of Capstick when the station was at its peak.

“I met him several times and I’m sure he will be missed by Sheffield people.”

Winton Cooper started his career as a newspaper reporter, working for the Barnsley Chronicle and the Huddersfield Examiner newspaper before switching to radio, covering news and sport.

He occasionally worked alongside former footballer Emlyn Hughes in the commentary box.